HDMI 2.0 is Great for 4K, but it Arrived Late and Badly Out of Date

by on September 19, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – September 19th, 2014

Also known as High Definition Multimedia Interface, HDMI has only recently been released in its 2.0 version that is capable of uploading or downloading data at a rate of 18 Gb per second.

In comparison to the previous data transfer capacity of HDMI 1.4, which was only 10 Gb/s, the new version of the interface is great and very practical in particular for 4K video transfer applications such as moving Ultra HD multimedia content between a 4K TV and a multimedia player with preloaded movies.

Furthermore, the frame rates (number of times per second at which a video image refreshes) that are available thanks to HDMI 2.0 are also excellent for 4K. This is because, unlike its HDMI 1.4 predecessor, HDMI 2.0 can allow refresh rates of 60 frames per second instead of 1.4’s 24 fps. This is a major difference and both UHD movie buffs and gamers can appreciate the smooth motion flow that 60 fps delivers in comparison to the slight jerkiness of 24 fps.

However, despite all these benefits, HDMI 2.0 was not implemented in as timely or efficient a way as it should have been. For one thing, the new interface was supposed to be released all the way back in 2012. Instead, it has only become more widely available in just the last few months of this year.

Furthermore, even now, many 4K TVs, which absolutely need 2.0 for a clean video to screen transfer, are still being released with HDMI 1.4 installed. This is changing, particularly for higher end UHD TV models, but it shouldn’t have had to be the case at all in the first place.

Additionally, even some of the latest 4K TVs released at the IFA conference in Berlin, Germany a couple of weeks ago weren’t even HDMI 2.0 equipped and while they will likely update this feature eventually, their lack of an HDMI update across the board is pretty damning considering that even in mid-2013, wholesale HMDI 2.0 compliance was being promised for the beginning of this year.

Some of the newest Ultra HD TVs from premium brands like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and LG do at least have the 2.0 specification already in place for most if not all of their 4K TV sets.

Sony 4K TV

Most newer models of Sony TVs have been equipped with HDMI 2.0 for some time

Nonetheless, premium content broadcasters in the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea and the U.S.A are moving ahead with 4K broadcasts anyhow, so as not to lose their perceived leadership positions in broadcast technology.

According to Richard Blanchard of the Sony Corporation, also president of the HDMI Forum, “the introduction of HDMI 2.0 Specification represents a major milestone for the HDMI Forum” This means there is certainly enthusiasm for moving ahead among technology leaders, even if their efforts have been somewhat slow in practice.

Furthermore, HDMI 2.0 works with category 2 High Speed HDMI cables already available in electronics stores and also incorporated the features of previous HDMI installations such as Ethernet hosting and audio return channel functionality.

The new spec also adds support for dynamic lip-synching for the sake of making audio and video easier to match.

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